License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver

( 125 )

Overview

In Las Vegas, there's a family-owned business called the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, run by three generations of the Harrison family: Rick; his son, Big Hoss; and Rick's dad, the Old Man. Now License to Pawn takes readers behind the scenes of the hit History show Pawn Stars and shares the fascinating life story of its star, Rick Harrison, and the equally intriguing story behind the shop, the customers, and the items for sale.

Rick hasn't had it easy. He was a math whiz at an ...

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License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver

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Overview

In Las Vegas, there's a family-owned business called the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, run by three generations of the Harrison family: Rick; his son, Big Hoss; and Rick's dad, the Old Man. Now License to Pawn takes readers behind the scenes of the hit History show Pawn Stars and shares the fascinating life story of its star, Rick Harrison, and the equally intriguing story behind the shop, the customers, and the items for sale.

Rick hasn't had it easy. He was a math whiz at an early age, but developed a similarly uncanny ability to find ever-deepening trouble that nearly ruined his life. With the birth of his son, he sobered up, reconnected with his dad, and they started their booming business together.

License to Pawn also offers an entertaining walk through the pawn shop's history. It's a captivating look into how the Gold & Silver works, with incredible stories about the crazy customers and the one-of-a-kind items that the shop sells. Rick isn't only a businessman; he's also a historian and keen observer of human nature. For instance, did you know that pimps wear lots of jewelry for a reason? It's because if they're arrested, jewelry doesn't get confiscated like cash does, and ready money will be available for bail. Or that WWII bomber jackets and Zippo lighters can sell for a freakishly high price in Japan? Have you ever heard that the makers of Ormolu clocks, which Rick sells for as much as $15,000 apiece, frequently died before forty thanks to the mercury in the paint?

Rick also reveals the items he loves so much he'll never sell. The shop has three Olympic bronze medals, a Patriots Super Bowl ring, a Samurai sword from 1490, and an original Iwo Jima battle plan. Each object has an incredible story behind it, of course. Rick shares them all, and so much more—there's an irresistible treasure trove of history behind both the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and the life of Rick Harrison.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this seedily entertaining memoir of low finance, the proprietor of the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop and star of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars reports from the world of gonzo capitalism, Las Vegas–style. Harrison and coauthor Keown are cheerful and honest about the pawnshop biz: the 10% a month interest; the hard-nosed, deceptive bargaining to acquire treasures for a song; the eternal duel with scammers and thieves peddling fakes and stolen goods; the infamous night window where customers line up at 3 a.m. for cash to fuel their addictions. These operations generate a steady stream of only-in-Vegas stories; there’s the trust funder who gambled away million in 36 hours, the woman who offered her gold tooth for sale and asked for a pair of pliers to extract it, and "the juxtaposition of the nun and the hookers—let’s just say it was surreal." Harrison’s self-mythologizing—"I was a tenth-grade drop-out who read and studied more than most college students"—drags a bit and his meta-saga of TV deal making undercuts the tone of seamy authenticity. Still, this tale of family entrepreneurship is full of intriguing details on the desperate things people do for money. (June)
Kirkus Reviews

Host of the History Channel'sPawn Starsunsentimentally breaks down the curious world of buying and selling pre-owned merchandise.

Harrison's straight-shooting business style adapts well to the pages of a memoir brimming with stories of his 20-plus years at the family-run World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. Before dropping out of school in the 10th grade, the author recalls a San Diego childhood spent people-watching and reading, yet marred by debilitating grand mal seizures and "fatalistic" drug abuse that led to rehab at age 14. Since his father ("Old Man") was a gold dealer and his "new-era" mother dabbled in real estate, both livelihoods honed his interest in commercial commerce. When the family relocated to Las Vegas, the author was hooked. Trolling swap meets fed a need to unearth the "overlooked treasures" of estate sales, and once his father opened his dream pawn shop, Harrison and Keown dictate a continuous strand of stories about the customers pawning their frequently odd sale items at Harrison's "poor person's bank" (there's a 10 percent monthly interest rate). Desperation takes many forms. Twenty bucks can sell a pair of alligator cowboy boots or a Gucci bag, but more lucrative (and outlandish) sales feature a gold tooth (extracted on-site) or one of the shop's prized possessions: authentic Iwo Jima battle plans hand-drawn in color. Throughout his career, Harrison has balanced failed business endeavors (in-house gold refinement) with impeccable negotiation skills and eagle-eye appraisals that have prevented the acquisition of fake Confederate swords and Rolex watches. The author lives and breathes his subject matter, but his voice, too-often oscillating between a hard-nosed tradesman and a starry-eyed TV personality, lacks the immediacy of his on-camera persona. Fans of unorthodox trades will find his tales shocking yet tastefully delivered, yet lacking the punch of the visual medium.

A fascinating guided tour of what Harrison calls "the greatest business in the world."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401324308
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 6/7/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 111,916
  • Product dimensions: 9.28 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Harrison

Rick Harrison lives in Las Vegas, NV where he is the owner-operator of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 125 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(67)

4 Star

(37)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 125 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Having seen several episodes of "Pawn Stars" and having formed impressions of the main characters, I was quite suprised to learn about their lives before, and behind the cameras. I have to admit that I am truly impressed by what Rick has been able to achieve considering what he went through in his earlier years. I think though that his story revives the Anmerican folklore found in the early years of indsutrialization. Although it is not exaxtly "a rags to riches" story, it does illustrate what can happen when a person is willing to work hard in persuit of a goal. The book is written in a first person narrative and takes on the tone as if you were talking to the people over a cup of coffee. It is a simply told, down to earth story told by those who live it. A pleasurabe, and informative look into the lives of these people and the goings on in pawnshops across the country.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Inspirational & Interesting!

    For anyone who is down on his/her luck -- even those who walk into Harrison's pawn shop -- this book should be truly inspirational. It details how one family beat the odds (including drugs and other vices), poured their hearts and bank accounts into a business, and ultimately achieved unimaginable success. "Pawn Stars" ranks among my favorite shows and so, like other reviewers, I was a bit disappointed there weren't more stories about items brought into the shop (the history, deals made, etc.), but still, this is a very good -- and easy -- read. I hope Rick pens a second book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 25, 2011

    Great Memoir that shows the mind of Harrison!

    This book keeps you going!! You can't wait to find out more and even at 1:20am keep flipping along. Plus the NOOK price can't be beat.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love the show? Read the book!

    This autobiography is told in an honest and unassuming way. I found out trivia on not only antiques but contemporary items as well. This man pulled himself up by the bootstraps and turned around his life. More power to him!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Wow!

    Really changes your persective on the show. Quick read and totally worth it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

    The Back Story to the Show Pawn Stars!

    You will learn about everyone on the show and learn things about the shop, things they don't show you on the show.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Like the show you'll like the book

    This was an interesting peek at the behind the scenes look at the show and the interesting people that make up the cast. I wish the book was longer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I like it thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 18, 2012

    Like the Show? Love the book

    This book is awesome. The best thing about it is that if you have seen the show you can hear Rick, Old Man, Cory, and Chumlee voices as you read the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    GREAT BOOK !!!

    Best true story.. They're so smart, even Chumlii is getting a LITTLE smarter ! ! Don't wait,,,,put it on your e-reader

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    Goldenstripe

    Uh, no not really. But if you don't mind I don't think I want to talk about it right now, sorry. I just took a shower so I never posted. What's going on with Lily?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    License To Pawn Rate & Review

    Awsum book! informutiv, reddit twice cuz i luv the show!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Lilywolf

    Sigh bad Goldy to get locked out! Lol next result? ~ Lilywolf &hearts

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 23, 2013

    Very interesting!

    My husband and I watch Pawn Stars, so the book was very interesting to me. My sister read it and recommended it. This book tells the whole story about how the store came to be and also how the tv show came about.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 31, 2013

    Great Book

    Enjoyed chapters written by The Old Man, Big Hoss and Chumley. The book gives an inside workings of a pawn shop. I think after reading the book you get a better appreciation of the show itself.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    License to pawn

    Just like the show, fun and factual

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Great Book! This book is in Rick's own words and reads just like

    Great Book! This book is in Rick's own words and reads just like he is standing there carrying on a conversation with you. Love it! Learned a lot about the show and everyone on the show!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Entertaing

    The show ientertaing and so is rhe book. Rick,Cory, and Chumley are all recovering druggies which makes this success story even more unusual. Very little is said about son,Adam, which makes me wonder if he is still uusing. I did not like the use of the F word as it idoes not add anything to the story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    Excellent

    A great read not only from a learning standpoint but entertaining as well. Learned more about the main folks that appear on TV by their own story lines.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2012

    Highly Recommended if you watch the show!!

    LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book!! It was fun to read about the guys backgrounds and what got them into the pawn business. I have watched the show on TV for a long time and can't wait for the next episode each time. My husband will be reading the book soon, but I find myself giving little things about it away while we are watching the show!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 125 Customer Reviews

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